Starbucks infuriates rewards customers

Starbucks has changed its rewards program.

Starbucks has claimed this is a really “exciting” change. For who? The Twitter stream for this program change suggests a lot more anger than excitement by a factor of probably 20 to 1. Starbucks says customers have been asking for this change. Really? Not according to the Twitter stream.

Exciting? No. Maybe the Starbucks CFO is excited. But, reward customers–not so much.

Rather than earning an award based on 12 visits, you now earn points based on spending (2 points per dollar spent) and need to accrue 125 points to win an award. While I spend $2.35 per day on Starbucks coffee about 340 days per year, my reward will now be a $62.50 rather than $28.20 unless I increase my spending. I’m not excited or enthused.

Someone wrote they are bringing their rewards program more in line with the airlines. Now there’s a great model of customer satisfaction and experience to emulate! Everybody loving the less spacious airplane seats? How about the bathrooms that are the size of old phone booths?

How about if Starbucks simply be Starbucks. The ill will they have fostered with this change offsets the goodwill they’ve earned with loyal customers. Perhaps they think we’ll forget about it. I won’t. And, there’s a lot of competition here in Silicon Valley.

Why is this important? If you are going to change policies that negatively impact customers, think twice, three times, four times. Don’t call something “exciting” to the masses that isn’t. It feels like someone is trying to blow smoke up my derriere. My derriere doesn’t like smoke.

Thought for the week:

“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

What do you think? I welcome your comments! Dave Gardner

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